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house Bill H.R. 538

Speeding up Energy Initiatives on Native American Lands

Argument in favor

Removing restrictions on energy development will lead to more lucrative projects in the U.S. and thus boost the economy and livelihood of tribal groups, who have the right to lease and profit off their own land.

USAFCCF's Opinion
Let the tribes decide without interference from the Feds. We've interfered enough with the tribes
Like (5)
Curmudgeon's Opinion
If we have ultimate vote over alleged native lands then how can they actually be native lands? Are they serfs, like the rest of us?
Like (4)
John's Opinion
Yes Yes Yes. Reduce red tape and regulations whenever possible.
Like (3)

Argument opposed

The country should be focusing on renewable energy, not energy sources that will destroy the environment. In the long-term, this bill makes it easier to drill and harder to enforce renewable energy practices.

Chris's Opinion
It is their land and not ours to impede on or impose our desires to obtain energy sources that belong to them. We need to stop screwing over the native Americans
Like (9)
Alexander's Opinion
No we shouldn't pass any bill that encourages even more oil drilling, it only harms the environment and greatly endangers future generations, we need to think about what's going to happen to our great grandchildren, and it may employ some people, but there's no point in making a profit of there isn't a world to spend it in
Like (8)
KN's Opinion
I have this funny feeling that this is not only the Native American's plan to tap into these reserves. I bet some energy companies have a hand in this too. America needs to move on to a better source of energy. We may be getting there slowly, but a profitable business may come about when we do.
Like (7)

What is House Bill H.R. 538?

The Native American Energy Act is designed to expedite energy development projects and mineral extraction on Native American lands by removing regulation requirements. Those energy projects could include non-renewable ventures like fracking, coal mining, and petroleum extraction. 

This bill would require the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to act on energy project requests within 30 days. Tribes would be able to waive this requirement for appraisals of an energy project request under special circumstances. 

After environmental impact statements are drawn up for energy projects, this bill would limit review and commenting to members of the tribe and people who live in the area. 

Native American groups would be granted more authority over leasing their land for the use of energy development. This bill would authorize the Navajo Nation to enter into commercial and agricultural leases for up to 99 years. The Navajo Nation could also enter into mineral resource leases without the DOI’s approval for 25 years. All of the profits from those leases would go straight to tribal owners or tribal governments.


People living on energy rich Native American lands, the Navajo Nation, Alaska, non-renewable energy and other energy companies, and the Secretary of the Interior.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 538

$29.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementation of H.R, 1548 would cost $29 million over the 2014-2018 period.

More Information

In Depth: Alaska is a key player in the U.S. oil scene; overall, it is responsible for 7 percent of the country’s crude oil. And there’s more to be tapped on tribal-owned soil. Supporters of this bill hope that it can scrap regulations that slow down energy production. With less red tape and more oil extraction and boosted energy reserves, supporters hope this bill will help tribes reap the benefits.

11 organizations have lobbied on this bill. Highest contributions came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and Tanana Chiefs Conference. The League of Conservation Voters lobbied against the bill.


(Photo Credit: Flickr user eschipul)


Native American Energy Act

Official Title

To facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Indian Affairs
  • The house Passed October 8th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 254 Yea / 173 Nay
      house Committees
      Indigenous Peoples of the United States
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedJanuary 26th, 2015

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